Have you ever wondered, “How does all-wheel drive work?” Most people know that vehicles with AWD perform better on slippery roads, but you might not know why or how the AWD system works, so we’ve put together a quick guide for you.
All-wheel drive is one of several drivetrains, which also include front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and four-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive is the most common and involves a front differential that delivers power from the engine to the front wheels. On a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is mounted in the back and sends power to the rear wheels instead.
Four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles are similar in that all four of the wheels receive power, but instead of a center differential, four-wheel drive vehicles have transfer case that provides maximum torque to both sets of wheels.
The center differential in all-wheel drive vehicles is what lets it control the amount of power delivered to the front and rear differential at both sets of wheels. If one wheel is spinning in snow or water, the sensors on the wheels will deliver information to the car’s computer that then tells the drivetrain which wheels to give more power to, helping the tires get traction and move forward much more easily than in a front-wheel drive car.
All-wheel drive is a good investment if you live in snowy conditions, so seriously consider adding AWD when you’re buying a new car.